Thought this might be interesting given the number of people complaining about Audi's mileage claims
Yesterday, Heather Peters proved one woman can strike a blow against a major automaker when she succeeded in a landmark California case against Honda for making false claims about fuel economy.
Heather Peters was successful in her small claims case against Honda, in which she alleged that the car wasn't getting anywhere near the 50 MPG she says the company advertised her car would get. Although Honda only has to pay her $9,687 for this particular ruling, Peters has essentially laid the groundwork for other owners to make similar claims that could ultimately cost the company an enormous amount of money.
The key? Take them to small claims court. With her help, we've created this definitive step-by-step guide to how she, like a modern-day David, took on Goliath — and how you can too.
Small claims is not full-bore court. Evidence standards are lower and expensive and consuming processes like depositions and interrogations are dispensed with. It's a dispute resolution process, stripped down to its bare frame and built for speed. Also, fairness. Unlike fancy court, lawyers are not allowed (except in just a few jurisdictions). If the company shows — they don't always, which often means you get a default judgment and get to move automatically to the fun money-collection part — they can only send a company representative, and they can't be a lawyer. With these rules of engagement, the playing field between consumer and corporation is leveled and it's much easier for the average citizen to have their voice heard without getting tripped up in the legal science. That said, you still need to study the guidelines for you area and know what you're doing. Even though Heather Peters is a lawyer by training, there's nothing she did that any Joe Sixpack with a bit of focus and discipline can't do.
"There's no secret," Heather Peters told Jalopnik. "You go online, make your claim, you follow the links. Just follow the instructions."
Let's walk through — with her help — how she did it, and how you can too. How You Can Sue An Automaker In Small Claims Court And Win